What would you like readers to know about you (introduce yourself) and why did you start FreeFromBroke.com?
I’m thirty-something, married, with two children (My daughter is eight and my son is one). My wife and I both work full-time in New York City and make a decent living combined but still wonder how much we need to live the American dream (or is the American dream still attainable or realistic?).
I started Free From Broke after coming across Zen Habits one day. I immediately loved the articles. I had no idea how big the site was. From there I found Get Rich Slowly. I loved the reading there too. Then I found ProBlogger. Well that gave me instructions on how to run a blog. I had all the ingredients to inspire me to try out blogging for myself. I had been interested in personal finance for a while and I thought I might have something to contribute so I started up Free From From Broke in October 2007. The rest is history. Of course I didn’t realize how much work it would be but I also didn’t know how much fun it would be either!
What are your favorite topics in personal finance (i.e. what do you like to write about) and why?
My favorite articles tend to be ones that relate to something that’s actually happened in my life. I think I convey myself better when I’m personally vested in a subject. They also tend to flow better for me.
What would you tell those people that might be thinking of starting a personal finance blog of their own?
Don’t! Leave it to us! Just kidding! I say go for it. There are so many PF blogs out there but we all have a different voice and a story to tell. And you would think there would be competition but I’ve found the PF blogosphere to be totally friendly and helpful. There’s room for all of us to tell our story. I’ve met some really great people online (Cash Money Life, Moolanomy, being frugal, brip blap, Mrs Micah, the Money Life Network folks…I can go on!). Some have helped me out directly while others provided inspiration to keep writing.
Blogging is a great way to make yourself accountable for your actions because you now have readers asking if you’ve followed your own advice or asking how you are doing. You also learn so much from reading what others have to say. I’m surprised every week by great articles that are written.
One last thing – It’s fun! This is like my own little business that I get to run any way I want. Not that it will make me rich but it helps keep me organized and keeps me in touch with lots of other blogs authors out there. I love seeing what people come up with as well as seeing Free From Broke grow.
What would you consider the single most important thing people can do for their finances?
Take a real honest look at your situation and ask yourself if you are where you need to be financially! Maybe it’s handling debt or maybe it’s putting away savings. Either way be honest and get started fixing it. Two of the most important aspects of personal finances are Time and Compounding. The sooner you start to take control the better.
If you had to pick three of your own posts to call your “favorites”, which would they be?
How Amex and ING Gave Us a Wedding Gift – This was one of my first posts. It was also one of the first where I think I got a good grip on how to write an article. Like I mentioned above about favorite topics, this was first-hand experience that I thought I could share. It didn’t get much response but then again very few knew I existed yet.
My 401(k) Is Killing me, I’ll Never Retire! – I was reaching another level in my writing here; taking a step forward (I think). I was starting to get some more comments and feedback around this time. I also started building a rapport with Hank at My Investing Blog. He evaluated my portfolio which I put into a follow-up article. Little did I know that we would both be a part of the Money Life Network!
15 Things to Do With Your Economic Stimulus Check – This one was real fun to write! I had been thinking about writing it for a bit and I kept seeing other sites write about the same thing. That’s why I had to have 15 things so this way I would have more! At the last moment I thought it would be cool to link out to a bunch of people that I followed. It ended up being one of my most popular posts. Writing it about a week after I switched hosting platforms from Blogger to WordPress, this really helped me feel like I arrived and confirmed that there was an audience for my work.
Thanks PT for the opportunity to share my story with your readers!